Customer Story

Imerys: Powering the digital transformation of a global mineral giant

Imerys

Imerys uses G Suite to enable collaboration and communication between its global sites across 50 countries thanks to Hangouts, Drive, and Calendar, transforming how employees work.

Google Cloud Results

Video calls up from 500 to 12K calls a month

• Reduces licensing costs through integrated functions such as Mobile Device Management, Forms, Docs, Sheets, and Slides

• Enables communication and collaboration globally thanks to Hangouts, shared live files, and Calendar scheduling features

• Saves significant time on projects such as collecting financial information globally with Forms and Sheets

“Innovation is key to the company’s strategic goals. Today, you can’t innovate with an IT infrastructure that is stuck in the 20th century. Imerys’ management understood this and decided to invest significantly in IT.” - Joël Fromont, Chief Digital & Networks Officer, Imerys

A global leader in the provision of industrial minerals for construction, health and beauty, and other sectors, Imerys mines and processes minerals for industrial use across a wide range of products, from andalusite to zirconia. Operating in 50 countries worldwide, the company now employs around 18,000 people across numerous divisions, with the majority of employees located in its 130 mines or its industrial processing sites. Its headquarters are in Paris, France.

Imerys applies engineered processing to the raw materials it extracts in order to create innovative products that answer the needs of industry today, be it conductivity, lightness, durability, or purity. In the past 20 years it has grown significantly through the acquisition of around three to four companies annually, which has influenced its internal structures. “The fact that we have grown by acquisition really impacted our working culture, as we were extremely decentralized,” explains Joël Fromont, Chief Digital & Networks Officer at Imerys. “Two years ago, Imerys’ management decided this situation needed to change.”

In order to reorganize Imerys’ internal IT operations to reflect the innovation and expertise it applies to its products, and prepare the business for the future, Imerys decided to undertake a digital transformation project to update its infrastructure. G Suite proved the perfect answer to many of its needs.

“Innovation is key to the company’s strategic goals,” says Joël. “Today, you can’t innovate with an IT infrastructure that is stuck in the 20th century. Imerys’ management understood this and decided to invest significantly in IT.”

Transforming communication

“I always recommend Forms even for very basic questions. It helps to capture feedback, which links back to one of the Google innovation principles: make decisions that are based on facts.” - Joël Fromont, Chief Digital & Networks Officer, Imerys

In order to benefit from scale effects and be able to rationalize processes, large companies with many subdivisions and subsidiaries need to have a centralized and integrated communications infrastructure. Because of the way the company had grown, Imerys’ IT systems were working across software and hardware that was not synchronized, making collaboration between sites and departments difficult. “In terms of storage, the focus was extremely local with many different active directories meaning exchanging between countries was very challenging,” says Joël. Limiting licensing agreements meant not all the company’s employees were able to benefit from certain applications, and outmoded conferencing hardware restricted the number of conference calls possible.

To solve these issues, Imerys implemented G Suite. With Hangouts Meet, now there are no limits on communication between employees and sites. “Before, we had only 1,000 video conferencing licenses, so only 1,000 users could do video conferences at the same time,” says Joël. “Now, everyone is able to use Hangouts Meet. It’s hugely popular.” Drive means storage is no longer localized, and it is easier to exchange files and collaborate using Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Calendar serves as a scheduling tool for booking rooms and planning calls. “The meeting rooms are nicely integrated into Calendar making it easier to book or to cancel a room, and you can include the video conference link,” says Joël. “It has been adopted very quickly and very intuitively.”

G Suite has also made completely new tools available to employees, such as Forms. “Our previous survey tools were limited, whereas Forms is open to everyone. I always recommend Forms even for very basic questions,” says Joël. “It helps to capture feedback, which links back to one of the Google innovation principles: make decisions that are based on facts.”

A whole-company process

Working together with implementation partner Cirruseo, Imerys developed a comprehensive change management plan for implementing the Google suite. This included using Forms to identify key users who would lead the process and staging Google Transformation Labs. “Using a metric based on the survey, we chose and trained 700 ambassadors to help less advanced users to develop their use of G Suite,” says Barthélemy Delerm, Digital Workplace Director at Cirruseo. “It’s something that we’ve consistently used across different populations,” says Joël. “We do it at the beginning of every Transformation Lab to assess the maturity of the participants. We’ve done 10 so far and they were a great success; people were really enthusiastic about participating in them.”

“Working with a collaborative tool like G Suite is key. The role of our IT department has changed. It is no longer to maintain servers but to help ensure that the business benefits as much as possible.” - Joël Fromont, Chief Digital & Networks Officer, Imerys

Another key aspect to Imerys’ successful implementation has been the leadership shown by its management. “Three members of the Executive Committee participate in our project steering committee,” says Joël. “They are really involved and drive the project. That’s definitely an asset, as they can mobilize their networks to support our project and lead by example.”

Expanding the ecosystem

Imerys has already seen a significant rise in collaboration and productivity thanks to its implementation of G Suite. “We’ve seen video conference usage rocket from 500 video conferences a month to more than 12,000. The usage of video conferencing has really enabled progress in the company’s collaboration culture.” Imerys is considering the implementation of Hangouts Meet hardware, currently in proof of concept in France, America, and Brazil. Thanks to Google Mobile Device Management, Imerys has also reduced costs on mobile software licenses and its employees benefit from excellent support for Android devices.

With Forms, internal administrative processes are becoming quicker and more unified. “For example, every year, our tax department has to collect documents from all over the world,” says Joël. “This year, rather than an intern spending two months gathering and consolidating information, everything was done with Forms. Using that solution, they saved really significant amounts of time.” Uptake of Drive and other core functions has also been very positive. “Employees immediately took to Drive as a repository and we have almost two million files stored. Finance officers are transposing their proficiency into Sheets and are starting to see the benefits.”

Now, Imerys wants to complete the process of decommissioning its own servers and migrating to a Google native environment for word processing and spreadsheets. “It’s really transforming the company. It’s not just an IT project, it’s a whole-company workstyle project and we want everybody to be ready for that.”

“Working with a collaborative tool like G Suite is key,” says Joël. “The role of our IT department has changed. It is no longer to maintain servers but to help ensure that the business benefits as much as possible. We are more user oriented and business oriented.”

Deployment Partner (G Suite authorized reseller)

Cirruseo

A Google Premier Partner, Cirruseo offers innovative cloud-based IT solutions such as system migrations, made-to-measure apps, and analytics services.